Auckland, 2 November 2002 - A flotilla of protest boats, kayaks and inflatables met Le Defi Areva as it left the Viaduct this morning on its way to race in the Louis Vuitton series. Twenty craft gathered at the entrance to the Viaduct flying anti-nuclear banners that read “Keep the Cup Nuclear Free” and “Wind Power Not Nuclear Power”.
The protest included boats from Greenpeace, members of the original Peace Squadron, boats from the 2002 Nuclear Free Tasman flotilla and ordinary New Zealanders who want to let Areva know that whilst a French sailing team is welcome, the French nuclear industry is not.
The protestors range in age from 14 to 70 years old, representing generations of New Zealanders unhappy with the French nuclear industry using the event to promote their business.
“I want Areva to know that New Zealanders are upset with them abusing our good nature and using this event as an advertising platform for their industry – one with a terrible history in this part of the world and a bad environmental record back home,” said George Armstrong, one of the original founders of the Peace Squadron.
“It’s a slap in the face for New Zealand that Areva is here as a nuclear sponsor in the America’s Cup when last year they were here backing a completely different boat - one that was shipping plutonium fuel through our region and which our Government strongly opposed,” said Henk Haazen of the Nuclear Free Tasman Flotilla.
Areva was formed in 2001 from a merger between the plutonium reprocessing company COGEMA, the nuclear reactor construction company Framatome, and FCI, a maker of electrical connectors. Areva is 78.96 per cent owned by the Commissariat a L'Énergie Atomique (CEA – the French Atomic Energy Commission) and 5.19 per cent owned by the French Government. The CEA oversaw the nuclear testing programme at Moruroa and is today responsible for developing France’s nuclear weapons.
The protest boats followed the Areva boat out to the racecourse and were joined by a number of other protest vessels already out there.
Boats involved in protest flotilla:
Ranui – Richard Allen
s/v Notredam – Barry Littlewood
s/v Sonshu – Wilton Willis
s/v Legacy- Dan Salmon
s/v Secret Affair – David Armstrong
s/v Arresto – Rob Willighagen
s/v Equinox – Roy Purvis
s/v Waiaro - Peter Williams QC
s/v Blue Moon – Nic Atkinson
s/v Ethel – Tom Leary
s/v Tiama – Henk Haazen
Kayakers: Athena Lambrinidou, Ruby Haazen, Tamara MacDonald, Tamara Tong, Halee Moss.
For further information: Bunny McDiarmid, Greenpeace 021 838 183; Glyn Walters, Greenpeace 021 772 661; George Armstrong, member of the Peace Squadron 025 902 415.